Lucinda Williams, the Barbican, London, 27th July 2019

From today’s perspective it’s hard to underestimate the importance of Lucinda Williams’ ‘Car Wheels On A Gravel Road’ to the Americana genre. While its impact on release in 1998 wasn’t particularly apparent (it only reached 65 on the Billboard 200 chart), it was given a major boost through countless positive reviews which culminated in it … Continue reading “Lucinda Williams, the Barbican, London, 27th July 2019”

Review: Black Deer Festival 2019, Eridge Park, Sussex

Update: Apologies for getting the county wrong originally. That’s Northerners writing reviews on Southern events for you. It’s difficult to be interested in americana in 2019 and not feel in some way political – even with a small p. Black Deer, an americana and country festival held in the stunning setting of Eridge Park in … Continue reading “Review: Black Deer Festival 2019, Eridge Park, Sussex”

Gillian Nicola “Dried Flowers” (Independent, 2019)

Gillian Nicola is a fledgling recording artist though apparently performing since she was 13. ‘Dried Flowers’ is her first full-length album though there have been two previous E.Ps, ‘No Place to Call’ from 2016 and ‘Chasing Winds’ from 2013. In fact, the final track of the former, ‘Stay’, could well be a standout in her career … Continue reading “Gillian Nicola “Dried Flowers” (Independent, 2019)”

Jade Jackson “Wilderness” (ANTI-, 2019)

Jade Jackson’s sophomore album ‘Wilderness’ is her first music release in two years. The twelve track album focuses heavily on self-discovery using country and folk rock to aid in her storytelling. The first single released from the album ‘Bottle It Up’ is best described as a toe-tapper of a tune – a statement of independence … Continue reading “Jade Jackson “Wilderness” (ANTI-, 2019)”

Ordinary Elephant “Honest” (Independent, 2019)

One thing that should be made clear from the outset about ‘Honest’ is that there is not a weak track on the album. This is only partly down to the strength of the material – a large debt is owed to the sheer power and authenticity of the delivery. This collection of thought-provoking, heartstring-tugging Americana … Continue reading “Ordinary Elephant “Honest” (Independent, 2019)”

J.S. Ondara “Tales of America” (Verve, 2019)

The grand but elusive idea of the ‘American Dream’ is one of the USA’s gifts to the world. J.S. Ondara is, perhaps, the very personification of this ideal but his darkly poetic lyrics and tender confessionals expose the doubts, flaws and difficulties in chasing the myth, just like the pain to be found in the … Continue reading “J.S. Ondara “Tales of America” (Verve, 2019)”

AmericanaFest UK 2019 Conference Showcase preview – part two

The AMAUK conference is now into its fourth year and one of the highlights is the two nights of showcases which take place before the awards ceremony featuring the best of americana talent, both homegrown and from around the world. At five venues across Hackney, all within walking distance and for the price of one … Continue reading “AmericanaFest UK 2019 Conference Showcase preview – part two”

The Handsome Family, Nell’s Jazz and Blues, London, 22nd October 2018

The last time the Handsome Family visited these shores they played the Grade II listed Hackney Round Chapel, an appropriate venue for their 20 year celebration of the ‘Through The Trees’ album. Tonight’s end-of-tour performance is in the more intimate surrounds of Nell’s Jazz and Blues club and there are no restrictions placed on what … Continue reading “The Handsome Family, Nell’s Jazz and Blues, London, 22nd October 2018”

Tony Rose “Medicine Tunes” (Cannery Row Records 2018)

Tony Rose is from Glasgow and this is his first solo record. He has previously recorded as a member of Two Dollar Bash and has a career extending beyond Scotland, playing across Europe, jamming and swapping songs from Prague to Berlin and Amsterdam and all across Canada and the USA, promoting this important bluegrass related … Continue reading “Tony Rose “Medicine Tunes” (Cannery Row Records 2018)”

Hazel Dickens & Alice Gerrard “Sing Me Back Home: The DC Tapes 1965-69” (Free Dirt Records, 2018)

Hazel Dickens and Alice Gerrard are seen as the pioneering women of bluegrass music.  ‘Sing Me Back: The DC Tapes, 1965-1969’ is a raw, unproduced album that highlights the duo’s quality, recorded in Gerrard’s kitchen on a reel-to-reel recorder – their authentic talent does shine through. Some of the songs will be familiar when listening to … Continue reading “Hazel Dickens & Alice Gerrard “Sing Me Back Home: The DC Tapes 1965-69” (Free Dirt Records, 2018)”